The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Everlasting Basis of the Family

We proceed now, in the natural order of these inquires, from the individual to the family.

Holiness does not annul, or even alter, the laws of nature, but only restores and perfects their action. And, accordingly, we shall be united with our heavenly Father in the great work of restoring and perfecting the family, when we endeavor to ascertain and to aid in the fulfillment of the intentions of nature.

Every being must have its home. By home, we do not mean simply a locality, a place of residence. The man, who is banished from his native land, and is confined to some rocky isle in the ocean, has his locality, but it is not his home. If it is so, why does he so often cast his streaming eye over the broad ocean, as if to catch the glance of some other land? Home, therefore, in being something more than simple locality, is that locality where the affections find their center and are at rest.

And we may add further, that the home of every class of beings, excluding all idea of uncertainty and vagrancy, is ascertained and fixed by a law of nature. It would be unreasonable to suppose that the origin, or the position, or the physical habits, or the enjoyments, of any beings, especially in their regular or normal state, are accidental. On the contrary, all beings have their sphere or circle of life; — a sphere definite, wisely adjusted, and perfect. And this is not all. Every sphere, embracing as it does various and multiplied capacities and opportunities of action, has its center.  And that center, in being constituted by a divine arrangement, and with the divine approbation, may be said to harmonize with the divine and infinite center. And, accordingly, harmonizing as it does both with God and with the facts and incidents of its own sphere of life, it is the place, and the only place, where the highest happiness of created beings is realized. It is the place, therefore, in distinction from all others, and above all others, which constitutes their HOME.

That home or center, of which we now speak, will always be found to be, — certainly in the case of all moral beings, — the harmony or union of two in one. The permanent coming together, the consolidation, if we may so speak, of two natures existing in the same sphere of life, constitutes not merely the place of meeting, but the place of affectional rest and happiness. The true domicile of all sentient and moral beings, therefore, is the domicile, the home of the heart, whenever and wherever the heart is at rest. And that place of rest is ascertained and verified by that union of two in one which has just been mentioned. And, accordingly, it may be said of all moral and accountable beings that they are at home and are happy in being united, first with the divine or infinite center, which is God; and then, in being perfectly united, under the divine direction, with other correspondent or mated beings in the same sphere of life; — a union, which may be described as the local or finite center, namely, the center in relation to the species or class of beings to which they belong. And until they attain this central position in their own sphere of life, a center which corresponds to and harmonizes with the divine or infinite center; in other words, until they reach this home of the heart’s rest in love, there is always a desire which is not satisfied, always a yearning of the spirit which is not met, a deep and painful want of completed bliss.

Such is the truth of nature in this matter. Such is the truth of God, who in the book of nature has everywhere written truths which are eternal. And, accordingly, the family institution, which has so close a connection with the interests and hopes of humanity, has an everlasting basis.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 6.

No comments:

Post a Comment